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Career Development November 13, 2018

By Moira K. McGhee, Contributor

7 Must-Have Nursing Skills to Transition into Nursing Management

Nursing management combines nursing and business management skills to successfully fulfill many crucial roles and responsibilities in a medical facility. 

Nurse managers are responsible for a team of nurses and oversee the day-to-day operation of the facility, monitor patient care and address inventory and budgetary concerns. This makes nurse managers a “vital link between the administrative strategic plan and point of care.” Developing must-have nursing management skills allows you to lead, inspire and motivate your staff to provide the best care possible.

Visit American Mobile and find a travel nursing job that allows you to hone your nursing skills for future transition into nursing management.

7 nursing skills needed in nursing management

To be effective in nursing management, you must possess a diverse set of skills that are critical to the success of your medical facility. While desired nursing management skills vary slightly from one leadership position or medical field to another, here are seven must-have nursing leadership skills you should possess to successfully transition into nursing management.

1. “Superstar” Skills

Testing the nursing management style of the best nurses uncovers the most desirable skills some medical facilities look for in new applicants, according to Michael Mercer, Ph.D., business psychologist, author of Hire the Best & Avoid the RestTM and the researcher who created the pre-employment 3 ForecasterTM Tests.

“Medical facilities that use my ForecasterTM Tests have had me test their superstar nurse managers to find the exact test scores their best nurse managers get. They can then test job applicants and show preference for applicants who get the same scores as their best nurse managers.”

Some desirable skills based on test results of the “absolute best, superstar nurse managers” include:

  • Highly friendly
  • Highly teamwork-oriented
  • Flexible in following rules
  • Poised under pressure
  • Highly optimistic
  • Simultaneous focus on both feelings and facts
  • Highly motivated to learn
  • Average to high intelligence


Learn more about the pre-employment 3 ForecasterTM Tests at

2. Teamwork Oriented

Being able to work well as part of a team is a valuable nursing skill, but as a nurse manager, you must transition this skill into building an effective team. This requires a vigorous focus on recruitment and nurse retention. Once you’ve built your team, foster collaboration among your nursing staff by including them in discussions and decision-making that affects their workflow to build trust and contentment with changes. Adopting a teamwork-oriented nursing management style helps ensure job satisfaction, translating to less staff turnover and enhanced patient care.

3. Expert Communicator

Having exceptional communication skills is another desirable transitional skill that also plays a significant role in your effectiveness in promoting teamwork. Effective communication relies heavily on developing active listening skills to encourage your staff to approach you when they’re in need of guidance. You must also be able to convey oral and written communications effectively and concisely, sometimes under pressure, while interacting with a variety of people on a daily basis. Strong communication skills enhance your ability to competently interact with your staff, physicians, patients, patients’ family members and administrators.

4. Poise Under Pressure

Being decisive in a crisis situation shows poise under pressure, a highly-desired nursing skill. Nursing managers are looked up to by staff members for leadership during times of high stress, so you must be adept at situation management. Strong nursing leadership skills allow you to quickly identify issues that require immediate attention and apply principles of crisis management. Your poise under pressure ensures safety, competency and efficiency is maintained at all times.

5. Balancing Business Management and Quality Care

With numerous administrative demands, it’s vital that nurse managers be able to balance business tasks with patient care. Your nursing management skills should allow you to schedule appropriate staffing and deliver the highest quality care for your patients while adhering to regulatory guidelines.This includes coaching staff members who aren’t meeting the standards governing patient care. As an administrative leader, you’re also responsible for collecting financial data to ensure cost-effective care and maintaining necessary equipment and supplies.

6. Promote Positivity

Effective nursing managers are optimistic leaders who set good examples for their staff. When you display a cheerful, positive attitude, others will follow your lead. Your positivity also allows your team to relax, perform better and enjoy working with you. Spread your positive attitude further by individually complimenting staff members for exceptional performance. Recognition and reward for a job well done demonstrate appreciation, value and caring, which goes a long way in increasing staff morale, job satisfaction and nurse retention.

7. Open Friendliness

Utilizing an approachable nursing management style means being friendly toward your staff and maintaining an open-door policy. It’s easy to get buried in paperwork in your office, so make an effort to step out on various shifts and days to allow your entire staff opportunities to interact with you.

Make regular rounds, so nurses and patients see you’re interested in what’s happening. Listen to staff suggestions,and let them know you’re open to their ideas. Prioritizing nurse manager visibility and relationships makes it easier for your staff to interact with you and boosts their satisfaction. It also allows them to better empathize with your administrative decisions and more likely to voice any concerns they have.

Christopher Littlefield previously coached over 60 nursing students at Children’s Hospital Boston and trained over 300 nurse managers in The Art of Acknowledgment and Resiliency. As the founder of, he concludes that “nurse managers must learn to extend the compassion, tough love and understanding they show to patients to their peers. To withhold judgments, seek understanding and stand for the well-being and exceptional care of their patients, their staff and themselves every day.”

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